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5 Effective Tricks to Create a Killer Call to Action

This guest post is by Greg Digneo of Sales Leads in Thirty Days.

Here’s the dirty little secret: there are actually two steps to building an extremely popular blog.

The first and most popular step is to drive traffic by guest posting, social media, and SEO.

The far less sexy step is to convert that traffic into loyal readers who will become the backbone of your community.  Who will share every piece of content you produce with their friends.  And who will ensure that every post sparks an engaging discussion.

But most of all, they will be the first to buy your products and services.

The key to converting random traffic into loyal readers

Most likely, your readers have dozens of blogs in their RSS feed.  They follow hundreds of people on Twitter and have “liked” quite a few brands on Facebook.  With all this noise, your message is bound to be lost.

The most guarded space in a person’s online world is their inbox.  If you are able to get your blog post into your reader’s inbox, then there’s a much higher chance of your post being read.

But, you have to earn your way into someone’s inbox by creating a killer call to action.  Give your readers exactly what they want, when they want it, in exchange for their email address.

Below are five ways that you can create a killer call to action.

1. Get a celebrity endorsement

On the back of every non-fiction book, you’ll see at least four notable authors or industry experts boasting about how great the book is. On television, weight loss ads are endorsed by actors and athletic apparel ads always feature athletes.

Marketers have long used the power of celebrity endorsements to motivate their target audience to take action and buy their products.

This is a tactic not lost on Derek Halpern, founder of the site Social Triggers. When you arrive at the Social Triggers blog, the first thing you will notice is a feature box at the top of the site. Derek’s feature box promises to give you psychology-based marketing advice in exchange for your email address.

But what makes Derek’s feature box so effective is the celebrity endorsement by Chris Brogan that says “I’m totally loving Social Triggers.” Derek is a master of psychology.  He understands that his readers will be more willing to subscribe to his email list because someone of Chris Brogan’s clout loves his work.

An endorsement from an A-list blogger is truly something that needs to be earned by posting high-quality content and building strong relationships over time. However, it is one of the most powerful ways to help build your email list.

2. Create a tangible offer

Research shows that when you create a very tangible benefit, your audience will be more inclined to take action.

On Quicksprout.com, Neil Patel creates a very tangible call to action in three steps that explains to his audience exactly what they are going to get.

The first thing Neil does is create a very compelling headline.  Instead of making a vague promise such as “How to get more traffic”, he decided to create a headline that will tell you exactly how much traffic you are going to get.

The headline “Double your traffic in 30 days” is so compelling because his readers can imagine how much better their blog will be next month with twice the traffic.  They can easily imagine more Tweets, more comments, and more money.

Second, by telling his readers that the course is worth $300, he provides a specific value.  This further increases the reader’s excitement because they feel like they are getting a bargain.

Finally, he has pictures and books and CDs just below his headline that provides a physical representation of the information.

By offering a tangible benefit that your readers can wrap their heads around, you will be able to grow your email list, and your blog, much faster.

3. Create social proof through trusted sources

When Ramit Sethi drives traffic to his blog on Iwillteachyoutoberich.com, one of his goals is to get readers to sign up for his free “Dream Jobs” course.

Ramit’s niche is the extremely competitive personal finance space.  Aside from being a great copywriter, he creates a great call to action by pointing to readers that he has been featured in mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNBC, and Fortune.

Because everyone interested in money and career advice is seeking credible experts, citing his features in the most renowned mainstream publications makes Ramit’s call to action almost irresistible.

There’s a good chance that you have never been featured in the New York Times or the the Wall Street Journal, but you can use similar tactics to build credibility by guest posting on popular blogs.

The most popular blogs only publish guest posts with unique and interesting content.  If your content has been published on a popular blog, then you’ve built credibility in your reader’s mind that your blog is interesting and worth reading on a regular basis.

4. Speak to your readers’ innermost desire

Do you know what your audience really wants?  Do you know what they think about late at night when everyone else is fast asleep?

Jon Morrow knows. He has an intimate knowledge of what his readers truly desire.  On his blog BoostBlogTraffic.com, Jon is giving away a free cheat sheet that reveals 52 hacks to write great headlines.

While bloggers may be interested in writing great headlines, Jon understands that bloggers really want blog posts to go viral. And headlines are one of the elements that make viral posts possible. The only way for Jon to truly understand the inner desires of his audience is to speak with them on the phone or in person.

If you are able to speak with your readers frequently, you will understand what keeps them awake at night and create a call to action that speaks to their innermost desires.

5. Create a relevant offer

At the bottom of every post on Hubspot is a call to action that gives readers more information on how to be better at social media and internet marketing.

What’s remarkable about Hubspot’s call to actions is their relevance. For instance, this offer for a free ebook on email marketing came at the bottom of a post titled “How to Breathe Life into a Boring Email Newsletter”.

By offering an ebook on email marketing after a person has just spent five to ten minutes reading an article on the subject, Hubspot is able to increase conversions—they’re simply offering a way to receive more information on the topic in which a person has already expressed interest.

Creating relevant offers isn’t something that can be done right away.  Hubspot is able to do it because they have an entire team of marketers creating ebooks, webinars, and tools for their readers to download. As your blog progresses, you will be able to repurpose your content to create relevant calls to action.

The bottom line

The truth is even the most perfectly crafted call to action isn’t going to turn you into an A-list blogger overnight. You probably won’t get thousands of people to subscribe to your email list tomorrow.  That takes connections, work, and time.

But what if you get a hundred email subscribers this month?  And what if five of those subscribers buys your $500 course? How can you transform random traffic into loyal readers and paying customers?

Get thinking. Be creative. And over time, you will have a raving mob of loyal readers eager to consume your next blog post or purchase your next product. Just be sure to remember me when you’re rich and famous.

Greg Digneo is the author of the blog Sales Leads in Thirty Days and is hosting a free webinar that shows bloggers and content marketers how to drive more traffic to their blog and convert that traffic into sales.

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Comments

  1. Guna Sekar says:

    Hey Greg Digneo, I just love your thoughts on engaging readers. Continue posting.. Cheerz

  2. Dwayne@TWC says:

    I really like this post, Greg. I have been working on a giveaway for my email list but as of right now I still have a little ways to go until I start getting recognition from the big dogs in the game. I’m cool with putting in my time and effort and reaping the benefits later.

    • Greg says:

      Thanks for the compliment Dwayne.

      Yeah, a really solid offer goes a long way to building your email list!

      It can take a while, but it seems like you are on the right track.

  3. Marc Ensign says:

    I HATED this post! It points out everything that I am doing wrong! Thanks for loading up my arms with a bunch of todo’s for this week :)

  4. Mohideen says:

    Great way to make visitors to a loyal readers thanks for nice post

  5. Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the great examples.

    I’ve been building a Hubspot-like system where the offer that comes after a post is the most relevant to the content of the post. It’s still a work in progress, but it should be ready in a few days.

    I think that’s a way underused technique; most blogs offer only one way to join the mailing list (“subscribe and get the freebie”). But the fact is that most of your visitors won’t be really interested in that one freebie…

    • Greg says:

      Hey Peter – Sounds like a great idea. It’s a ton of work, but your list will explode in the end. Good luck to you.

  6. Kevin says:

    Great post. I’ve known for awhile that creating a free report will help build a list of followers, but I didn’t understand what it would take to make a compelling call to action out of it. I always just thought you made the free report and then waited for the traffic to come. As someone who has stopped getting free reports because I don’t like getting put on yet another e-mail list, I know that I need to make something that somebody would actually spend money on.

  7. Yes, email marketing is surely the best form of marketing online. Just like JohnChow, my greatest regret is not not building my email list from day one. I would have started out collecting leads, building engagement and enhancing my expert status. But I know better now. My leads are growing, very responsive and can’t wait to read my post or consider a product which I recommend.

    Thank you very much for being so explicit on list building and creating a killer call to action. I love your tips, keep ‘em coming.

    • Greg says:

      Michael,

      I think most new bloggers fail to collect email addresses on day one, so I believe you are in good company my friend. :)

  8. Joan says:

    Great post! You made me think outside the box! I am working on an ebook but done yet. I keep writing quality posts and taking baby steps to get more and more traffic.

  9. Jas Kaur says:

    Hey Greg,

    Can I just say that I’m not doing any of the 5 tricks you mentioned in your post… and I’m gonna have to GET ON this! Thank you for some great tricks and I liked the interesting examples (sites) too. I’ve got heaps of homework to do now…

    All the best,
    Jas

  10. Hi Greg,

    Sensational breakdown! Stressing benefits makes a world of difference. People focus on benefits, not features. So focus on those benefits, making the emotions of experiencing each benefit crystal clear in the minds of your readers.

    Getting super clear on your offering helps readers visualize what you are offering. In essence, since we think in pictures, you are doing some leg work for them. This results in more opt-ins, a larger list, and prospering. The key? Get super clear. Picture exactly what you have to offer and clearly state the nature of your offering in a widget.

    Unless your call is strong building your list will be quite difficult. Take time to think through your call, to test different campaigns and to tweak your copy. Do what the masters do. Study pros – like the examples you provide – put your twist on these ideas, and test, test, test.

    Relevance in offerings makes a big difference. Serve up what your readers want. Think of your blog’s theme, then drill down by observing which posts are popular. By drilling down you can craft a super specific offering which gets readers clamoring to join your list.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Greg!

    Ryan

    • Greg says:

      Hey Ryan,

      This is a great breakdown of what needs to happen to create a great call to action and grow your email list.

      Thank you very much for providing the insight.

      Greg

  11. Great post Greg! A good call-to-action is key to successful marketing automation whether your trying to grow your blog readership or converting that same random traffic into leads and new customers. Good job breaking down the elements. I agree that HubSpot does a fantastic job of placing relevant calls-to-action on all of their content.

  12. wade says:

    Well, yet another post to show me what I’m doing wrong…thanks a lot! Just when you think you have a handle on it…there it goes again!

  13. Quite interesting article, I like the examples considered (social Triggers, Quick Sprouts etc), its time to plan something similar stuff on my blog…

  14. Ehsan says:

    Hi Greg, This is very helpful post. In order to make a better blog and in order to make money from Blogging we must collect readers email addresses and we must collect their mind. We should offer them what they want at our blog than they will come back to our blog when they again needed of that thing.

    Thanks for the informative post bro.

  15. Emila Yusof says:

    I love all the tips especially #1 – a lot easier. But not sure whether at least a celebrity reads my blog.

  16. Alan Graner says:

    Sorry to disagree with you Greg, but your article is more about offers that entice readers, not calls to action. A call to action tells people what to do: call today, click here, respond before 8 p.m., send for your free report, download the trial software now.

    At the risk of seeming self serving, check out “Marketing 101: How to knock people off their butts and make them act…NOW!” http://bit.ly/JThE3q